How to Put Together an Emergency Preparedness Kit

Hi, I am Amanda Kuzak from Kuzak’s Closet.  I am a professional organizer and blogger based out of the San Francisco Bay Area and today I wanted to inspire all of you to get your emergency kits ready in honor of Emergency Preparedness Month.

 

It doesn’t matter where you live, you are susceptible to an earthquake, hurricane, snow storm, power outage, flood, etc. and any of these things could leave you and your family stranded at home for a few days without power or electricity.

Before I talk about the emergency kit you need to have in your home, I want to talk about the emergency kit you should have in your car.  An emergency could happen while you are driving so it is smart to have a small tub in your trunk with a few emergency essentials.

This is what my emergency kit for my car looks like, it has a blanket, an extra pair of sneakers and socks (just in case I am wearing heels or sandals and need to vacate my car and walk), a flashlight, a power flare, and water.

Next let’s talk about emergency kits for your pet. This is my emergency kit for my pooch Harper, it contains a towel, food, water, and extra food dish, a leash, a toy, and her medicine (she has terrible allergies so Children’s Benadryl is a staple).  I keep her kit stored next to my emergency home kit, it is stored in a small bin so I could carry it with us if we had to evacuate.

Living in California I thought more people would have an emergency kit in their homes but I rarely see one.  When I ask my clients why they don’t have one they say they don’t worry about emergencies or they don’t know how to create one, or they have been meaning to set one up but they just keep forgetting.  How many of you have an extra supply of food, water, and emergency items in your homes?

This is what my kit looks like.  It is recommended you have supplies stored in air-tight tubs or on shelves in your garage or basement.  Mine are stored in a cabinet in our garage.  It holds all of our essentials and it is easy access to the kitchen if I need to replace or store extra items.  I also keep a duffel bag on top just in case I need to leave my house during an emergency.

Here are the items that should be in your kit, this list comes directly from FEMA.

  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Three-day supply of water – one gallon of water per person, per day.
  • Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • First aid kit and manual.
  • Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper).
  • Matches and waterproof container.
  • Whistle.
  • Extra clothing.
  • Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener.
  • Photocopies of credit and identification cards.
  • Cash and coins.
  • Special needs items, such as prescription medications, eye glasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries.
  • Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
  • Other items to meet your unique family needs.

Depending on your climate, this items might come in handy too…

  • Jacket or coat.
  • Long pants.
  • Long sleeve shirt.
  • Sturdy shoes.
  • Hat, mittens, and scarf.
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket (per person)

I stock my kit with non-perishable food from Costco because it comes in bulk.  I chose items that we would eat normally like tuna, protein bars, peanut butter, fruit cups, canned chili, canned beans, and pasta.

There is also an extra pair of shoes, towels and blankets, moist wipes, and at least 3 days worth of water.  If you have a pool or live next to someone who has a pool think about investing in a high quality water filter.

Flashlights and a radio with extra batteries and a Powerflare, first aid kit, and toilet paper.  If you have never heard of Powerflare go to their website, it is a much safer alternative to a flare.

Whenever I buy new blankets like these, I add the old ones to my emergency kit.

As important as it is to have an emergency kit, don’t forget to do these things to maintain your kit…

  • Keep canned foods in a dry place where the temperature is cool.
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers to protect from pests and to extend its shelf life.
  • Throw out any canned good that becomes swollen, dented, or corroded.
  • Use foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies.
  • Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in the front.
  • Change stored food and water supplies every six months. Be sure to write the date you store it on all containers.
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family needs change.
  • Keep items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers, such as an unused trashcan, camping backpack, or duffel bag.

Do you have an emergency preparedness kit ready to go?  If not I do hope you find the above tips helpful to put one together soon.

Updated to add:

Get your free printable Family Emergency Planning Kit.

Filed under: Containerizing, Guest Bloggers

Comments

220 Responses to How to Put Together an Emergency Preparedness Kit

  1. 1
    texmex says

    I always have a question about those survival kit. If you store pasta, how are you going to cook it?
    I imagine, no more electricity, so how do you cook pasta?
    I would highly suggest to add seeds to germinate, like sunflower seeds, and wheat, and alfafa… That will generate a lot of food in a few days. (after you are finished with all those canned food).
    I liek the idea of water filtering for the pool water. :-)

    • 1.1
      Laurie says

      You can cook pasta over an open flame fire, like a campfire or bbq We had to cook like this during the midwest ice storm of 2007.

      Good idea about the seeds.

      • 1.1.1
        Natalee says

        You can buy a very cool product called STOVE IN A CAN. All should have a couple on hand for 72 hr. kits! Google them

        • 1.1.1.1
          Kristy says

          Those are amazing. one of my favorite childhood memories was when my grandmother used one of those to cook me and my brothers breakfast during a huge snow storm. They are seriously the coolest things.

      • 1.1.2
        Carisa says

        Agreed, Laurie! We didn’t have power for 17 days after that storm (and we were lucky). You begin to get really creative, too. We had only two kids at the time and had a blast “cooking out” & BBQ-ing in the middle of winter. Something I added, and this may sound silly, is waterproof matches & a Zip-loc bag full of cotton balls “soaked” in Vaseline. The Vaseline makes the cotton balls waterproof AND easy to ignite. A canvas bag full of kindling might be handy, too. Big branches aren’t hard to find, but kindling could be soaked or wash away. Pray we never have to use our emergency kits!

        • 1.1.2.1
          Nina says

          Carisa, instead of kindling you can save dryer lint in ziplock baggies for use as kindling. It works great whether wet or dry and doesn’t require any extra special preparation!

          • 1.1.2.1.1
            michelle says

            The dryer lint idea is really great, I plan to do this.

            • Jill says

              Stuff empty toilet paper rolls with dryer lint as a good fire starter that will burn longer, giving you more time to add to it.

              • Heather says

                Empty egg cartons work well too – stuff dryer lint in the wells and pour melted crayons or candle stubs over the lint. Then just break off the egg wells as needed.

              • Maria says

                Cut a rectangle of corrugated cardboard 2 x 3. Stick matches in every other hole down the side of the cardboard. roll and tie with string. Dip in any kind of melted wax (a few times to get a good coating). These homemade fire starters will light even in the rain. They burn for a while because of the wax.

        • 1.1.2.2
          Amy says

          You never know what type of disaster you will encounter. Id have the kindling just incase. It might be a dry disaster!

      • 1.1.3
        Caroline says

        I remember that…. it was awful. We lived in one room off of space heaters for like a week. (generator is a must have investment)

        • 1.1.3.1
          robbiekay says

          Caroline, we have been talking about getting a generator. Is there anything specific you would recommend or things that we should be thinking about as we choose one model over another? In the meantime, I have encouraged my husband to maintain a minimum three day supply of firewood so we can camp out in front of the fireplace if nothing else.

          • 1.1.3.1.1
            Sherry Sanders says

            I would recomend a Honda generator because it takes one third the gas of the others Some generators need to be filled every 45 minutes. The Honda will go at least 2 hours before needing filling. they are more expensive but in the long run a much better unit.

            • Stephanie says

              We have a Honda generator for our camper. It runs all the basics and is quiet, fuel efficient, etc. I appreciate the security that this provides in the event of an emergency. However, if you purchase one, be sure to add gasoline to your 72 hour kit!

      • 1.1.4
        Sally says

        Ramen Noodles are a great idea, they soften in just minutes in cold or hot water.

        • 1.1.4.1
          stephanie says

          If you want to survive, don’t eat ramen noodles. Wax

    • 1.2
      deb says

      Cooking can be done on a “rocket stove”. you can easily make one from cans. doesnt use very much fuel, twigs. search the web for easy instructions.

      • 1.2.1
        jaloo says

        Somthing I don’t see listed (unless I missed it) and that everyone forgets, is a can opener. Also, when I lived up north, a recommended item(s) for the car included a metal coffee can stuffed tightly with roll or rolls of toilet paper, a bottle of rubbing alcohol and matches or lighter. If stranded in the cold, pour alcohol over the tp roll and light for an immediate heat source.

        • 1.2.1.1
          Michele says

          You can get the quart sized paint cans at Sherwin williams, and then stuff the TP in it without the center roll- double size is best as you want to have the can jam packed. You can pour the alcohol in from start and make sure lid is on tight. Store with a lighter and can opener. Just put lid on to reuse another day.

    • 1.3
      sara says

      The Rocket Stove is a simple way to cook in emergency. Very easy to make one and use very little furel. just google it.

    • 1.4
      Mandy Bimber says

      If you are struggling to survive, why would you need to worry about a filter for a swimming pool exactly? There would be so many chemicals in it, I would hope you wouldn’t think about drinking it, and if worrying about survival, swimming would be the last thing on my mind…

      • 1.4.1
        texmex says

        Well you could filter the water for cleaning or any other use not related to food, Water is always precious.

        • 1.4.1.1
          Carol says

          Living in Louisiana for 50+ years, I’ve been through a lot of hurricanes. When I was growing up, we had an underground well, which would not provide us with water after a storm. Mama always filled bathtubs and pots and pans with tons of water. One of the uses was to flush the toilet since our water source was not working. So I can totally see using pool water for this. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a pool, and our nearest neighbor was kinda far!

          • 1.4.1.1.1
            Grace O'Malley says

            We too have a well and if the electricity goes out we can not flush out toilets. I use the liquid laundry soap. When the laundry soap continer is empty I fill it up with water and just stock it in the storage room. When the power is out and we have to flush the toilet it takes about 3 laundry soap containers being dumped in the toilet to flush the toilet. It makes the room smell fresh and we are able to use the restroom during a power outage. We also keep our matches in large glass jars with a silicon packette in the jar to keep it from getting damp.

            • Barbee says

              That is a great idea and I am going to start storing water in mine. Another thing we do in warm weather is use our pool water, for flushing toilets. We too have a well. Thanks for the tip

          • 1.4.1.1.2
            Lacey says

            When we had a power outage due to an ice storm, mine and my brother’s family all ended up at my mother’s house. She had an enormous above ground pool. My brother and husband took a 33 gallon trash can out to the pool and filled it with water then put it on her patio. We then used a bucket to dip water out and use to flush the toilet.

        • 1.4.1.2
          cyndi Lou says

          You can buy some really handy water bottle style water filters, Freeze Dried Foods (they are VERY light, just add water or eat dry and they retain their nutritional value), crank lanterns, 72hr kits. . . There are a lot of really great ideas on this website: cynditree.shelfreliance.com

      • 1.4.2
        Teresa says

        Mandy, the water filter is so you CAN drink the water if necessary. It is an excellent water source. And anyway, a miniscule amount of chems wouldn’t hurt you short term. Have you ever heard of a kid who gulped pool water dying of chemical poisoning?

      • 1.4.3
        Anne says

        After Katrina in 2005 we used our swimming pool in the evenings because with electricity out and the water pump dead, it was better than going without a shower! Of course, after a few days and no filter pump it would get grungy, but it worked for about 4 days. By that time we had a generator to run the house and pump. Also, if you don’t already have a grill, consider purchasing your next one with a side burner. Surprising how much stuff you can cook on a grill with a burner–propane powered, of course.

      • 1.4.4
        bean says

        We had a emergency preparedness event with a group of teenagers and I brought out my top-of-the-line filter to use water from my salt water pool. Our expert guest speaker taught us that NO pool water should ever be consumed, even with extreme filtering and boiling. There is some by product of the chlorine action that will lead to cramping and diarrhea and make your emergency much more challenging and putting you in greater danger medically. TexMex is right that the water can be used for flushing toilets or other non-food needs.

    • 1.5
      Nancy says

      You don’t really need to cook pasta. One time I had just dropped pasta into a pot when the hubby decided to go out for dinner. When we got home the pasta was as done as when we eat it. It had sat in the water for an hour and was ready to eat.

    • 1.6
      nan says

      we discovered ( during a 2 week power outage) that boiling water ,for pasta ,on camp stoves takes forever..i’d suggest something besides dry pasta as an emergency staple..canned perhaps or precooked rice…also i’d up your supplies to 5 days…and don’t forget extra water for the pets.

      • 1.6.1
        Heather says

        Another idea for easy nutritious food is crushing a mix of high fiber/vitamin/protein cereals (Total, Special K, etc) and mixing with powdered milk. Pack in several quart sized zipper freezer bags (extra strong) and then inside a gallon bag. Be sure to pack plastic disposable cups and plastic spoons. Pour cereal mix in cup, add hot or cold water & mix.

    • 1.7
      Mary Kay Huster says

      When I moved to Florida about 4 years ago, My first Goal was to tear out the old electric stove(1967 model electric yuk stove) and replace it was a gas one, as well as purchasing the tank and the install from the local Propane gas company…. The propane is used only for cooking and lasts me about 15 or 16 months before needing to be refilled by the propane company.. Here in Florida they just switch out the large tank instead of refilling the tank. In Maryland they brought a propane gas truck and refilled the stationary tank.

      The bottom line is that I always have the gas stove for cooking when hurricanes knock out the electric. This is one of the comforts of home that I don’t want to do with out….When things are awry there is a lot to be said for being able to have meals or at least food prepared as usual…..I wanted my hot water heater to be an on demand propane tank less hot water heater but the handy man I had at the time said I couldn’t have gas in my home……of course he was wrong, but I was in the process of switching out of a five gallon tank, so I had to go with the flow and get a 17 gal tank that would run of the electric that was available. I still have to rectify that and get the propane tank less hot water tank eventually if I can….($)

      Needless to say that handyman will never do any other work for me. I also have a propane grill, but I didn’t want to be committed to only cooking out side when there is a hurricane swirling around……Then one day in Goodwill I also found a propane cylinder camp stove for $15.00, and picked that up. I also purchased a 4 pack of the cylinders to use with it. I should of course pick up more of them. The other thing in my arsenal of heat it up or cook it equipment is one of those fire sticks…I purchased the large size, and will able to get a spark from it to lite my gas range when the electric sparker doesn’t work when the electric is off. Of course there are a few lighters around, as well as kitchen matches, and I have oil lamps as well.

      One of the best things I do to conserve whatever fuel I do have an also lessen the time I have to pay attention to cooking or to save fuel or prevent heating up of the kitchen….is Blanket Stew……Cut up everything including the meat you went in it, put a heavy large pan on the stove, brown the meat and add everything you want in the meal to the pan. It can beans and rice (no salt in this at this point as salt will prevent the beans from cooking through) or stew meat with vegetables and onions including whatever spices you want. Bring it all to a rolling boil, In the mean time you have laid out a blanket folded into quarters on a table, then laid a large towel out over that. Place the rolling boiling pan or kettle with a snug lid on it on top of the towel, and warp the towel around the pot one corner at a time. Ending up with all four corners overlapped as snugly as you can, then wrap the blanket up and over the pan one corner at a time, and end up with the blanket or quilt totally wrapped around the pan. You could even use a coat or all towels or whatever you have to insulate the pan…..The first layer being a towel allows the towel to be the only thing that has to be washed if some of the food spills onto it, rather than having to wash the blanket. You can then leave the wrapped up boiling pan in place for several hours or all day, then when you come back to it and open it you will find the contents totally cooked and it will still be hot enough to burn you. This is an excellent way to cook while camping….cut up everything the night before, bring it all to a boil while you are making breakfast the next day, then leave it all day and when you come back from your adventure you can have hot delicious dinner waiting for you to warm your tummy and soul……The wrapped up pan could also be placed in a car, being careful that it can’t tilt, you can travel all day or half a day then pull over and have a hot meal where ever you are…..Hope this helps, and it has been in use by me even when it isn’t storming, just for convenience when I am busy or have to be away from home.. I figured it out one day when I had to leave my cooking to leave the house and just was wishing I could leave the stove on while I was gone and decided to wrap it all up to keep the heat in instead! ….Since then I have seen it used in third world countries as well. God Bless, and I hope your storing away against stormy weather goes well and sustains you! Mary Kay Huster

      I really do not want to do

    • 1.9
      Amanda says

      Most pasta can soak in water for a hour or two and becomes soft! It wont be warm but you wont be hungry!

    • 1.10
      Amber says

      We have a pool and finally splurged and bought a military grade water filter through http://www.water-revolution.com/California so we can have clean filtered water for as long as necessary. In big cities like LA, a big earthquake could leave us “stranded” for well over 3 days. Hurricane Katrina left people without assistance for week and I have heard recommendations that families should have what they need to take care of themselves for about a month. I can’t store a month’s worth of water, so the ReadyPur system is a great electricity free and portable solution for our family. It can filter 2 gallons of bathtub water, gutter water, toilet, pool water…even sewage. It’s that powerful. Just thought I’d share!

  2. 2
    Miranda says

    I was wondering the same about the pasta, maybe ready to eat pasta? I guess you could just let it sit there in the water until it is done :)

    I am at the beginning stages of preparing my kit, so I have a few, but this FEMA list is very helpful!

  3. 3
    Lisa Grace says

    I like this … especially the one for the car as I wish I’d had one back in July :) Thanks for sharing!

  4. 4
    Julie says

    I’ve been slowly collecting supplies while I’m in the storm off-season to prepare for next year. I have included some backpacks in my kit so that way we have our hands free to either climb or carry more stuff that we have duffels for. Even my doggie has her own little backpack.

    Since our most-likely emergency will be a tornado, we have several supplies included to help with rains, like ponchos aka trash bags, boots, and gloves so we aren’t hurt on debris. We also have a big tarp so we can use it to sleep under or block ourselves off from moisture. Everything is kept in the basement because that area has a safe exit and is underground. Let’s just hope we don’t end up with an earthquake as our emergency.

    On top of all that, we made backup disks of all our most important photos, documents, and medical records. We have a tiny little CD book that holds them all so we can plug in and have that information when we get to safety. After the Joplin tornado, all the medical records were lost so we are taking every precaution with our own records. I also have a duplicate medical bracelet down in my kit should I lose mine.

    • 4.1
      Christy says

      We are also most likely to experience tornados. I have filled a red duffle bag with emergency ponchos, cheap flashlights, batteries, disposable camera, first aid supplies, plastic dropcloth, duct tape, rope, Hot Hands & Feet packets, sm. notepad & pen, matches…things that we could use for many different situations. I’m still working on our medical & important documents and building up our food storage.

      Regarding storage of important documents, I suggest looking into a cloud service, like AboutOne.com or similar.

      • 4.1.1
        Amy says

        You can also send scanned documents to Dropbox.com

      • 4.1.2
        Lindsey says

        I would add a pencil to your list because if it rains the pen will smear on the paper

    • 4.2
      Stephanie says

      Very smart idea to have the back up discs! I would not have thought of that, but there are plenty of precious pictures and documents that I would want access to in the event of an emergency.

      I have been working on a binder of all the essential information for each of us (including pets). A pocket for each member has SSN, copies of Rx and insurance cards, dr. contacts, school info, current photo, etc. Another section has accounts, automobile docs, will docs, insurance agents, frequently called phone #s, etc. It is amazing how many phone numbers I do NOT have memorized because my phone does all the work for me! We also include a small first aid pouch (daily meds, Tylenol, bandages, alcohol swabs. The binder is a zipper type so everything can be contained inside. Additionally, we have $$ and spare keys for cars, house, etc.

      • 4.2.1
        Sally Lobkowicz says

        The $$ is a really good idea that no one has mentioned! If the power is out the ATM’s won’t work and stores won’t be able to process credit cards!

  5. 5
    annie says

    For those asking about the pasta, I remember one time when we had lost power when we cooked on top of a kerosene heater. My parents had a couple that we would occasionally use, and we always had them for emergencies. So that is also an option. I know a lot of people that also keep a small camp stove or something similar so that they are able to heat food even when the power goes out.

  6. 6
    Food on the Table says

    Love this, especially the tennis shoes in every instance, hadn’t thought of that before. Another thing that could be helpful in upstairs bedrooms is an emergency rope ladder to hang from a window. I remember having one stowed away in my sister’s closet growing up…just in case.

  7. 7
    Claire @ Claire K Creations says

    This is a really great idea. We’re heading into summer storm season here in Australia and after the floods we had at the start of the year, I’ll definitely be getting prepared. A little gas camp stove with extra gas canisters might come in handy too.

  8. 8
    Nancy Overton says

    Come November 1st, I review all my canned goods and donate anything that has an expiration date in the upcoming year to the food bank. Makes for more Happy Thanksgivings and keeps me up to date. I refill supplies as they go on sale.

    • 8.1
      Amanda Y. says

      Love that idea! Great way to keep products current and help others at the holidays!

    • 8.2
      Pinky N. says

      That is a fantastic idea! I was wondering what I should do with all the cans of beans that we bought that are expiring soon, but that we would probably not be eating any time soon. Thanks for the great idea. :)

      • 8.2.1
        KaraW. says

        Be sure that you just hold on to it an eat if it is too close to the expiration date. Food pantries will automatically throw away any expired food. They are not allowed to give it out. So if you don’t believe in wasting food, and are ok with a can of soup one day past expiration, then best to save it and eat it yourself.

        • 8.2.1.1
          Teresa says

          I personally believe that most expiration dates are put on items arbitrarily to make sure companies get new orders from people who can’t think for themselves. Just think, if most people followed logic instead of a factory stamp on a package and didn’t throw stuff away out of paranoia, companies couldn’t sell things as fast. The government is a huge offender and wasteful as hell in this area. I.E. I decorate cakes at a commissary. A bucket of icing on a room- temp shelf has an expiration date months away. But, as soon as I scoop some out and make it a different color and put it in the refrigerator, they want me to throw it away after 7 days. Wasteful and completely illogical. A bucket of icing costs about $35.00 and generally lasts me 2 weeks. Throw away is probably 25%. Multiply that by 24 for the year. The government requires me to throw away about $300.00 of perfectly good icing of only one kind I use per year. Now multiply that by the number of military commissaries worldwide. Good grief! It makes me angry. And that’s the way the government runs things. It’s no wonder we’re broke and going down the tubes. Sooner of later, common sense has to prevail.

          • 8.2.1.1.1
            Pat Smith says

            If can goods are kept in a temperature controlled area…65 degrees they are save for over 10 year. The texture may deteriorate (get mushy) but it is safe to eat. I am thinking of building an insulated closet in my garage for food storage. Be sure to include soap in ER kit.

            Great ideas here thanks. Always have an emergency pack when traveling. At least a little food & water & a blanket during the winter.

          • 8.2.1.1.2
            vic says

            there is nothing wrong with can food past date,it is only there so that the store’s have a turn around.people have been so programed to spend money that is not needed to be spent.I have had to eat tin and dry food that has been at least 12 years old and I’m still here and going strong.there is so many things out there to eat even in your own back yard we just don’t see it,pick up a few books read them you may be surprised.as for a stove to cook with a cross cut in it half way down a 3foot log can last you a week or better hard wood is best ,oak,maple,or elm.Birch is also good remove the bark and save it ,it makes a good fire starter.

  9. 10
    Mark Anthony Morales says

    When I registered for my insurance, AAA sent me a welcome/survivial kit for my car too, it includes a flaslight, cones, jumper cables and other stuff that I don’t even know what its for but i’m sure it comes in handy if i get in a wreck…..now i just wish they would have sent me shoes too..

  10. 11
    Amanda Kuzak says

    Thank you Laura for letting me guest post. I hope this helps remind all of us to get prepared!

  11. 12
    SillySimple says

    This list is really useful. I have been working on amassing a lot of this stuff over the last few months (mostly water).

    If it helps other readers–a lot of this stuff I already have packed away in my camping gear (blankets, radio, first aid kit, matches, hiking boots).

  12. 13
    C says

    We are putting one together to keep in the master closet, as that is where we will be going if we have another tornado. We live in Joplin and luckily our home was spared by the tornado in May (by 5 blocks!) but we realized if it had been in the path, our only safe place would have been in the closet in my bedroom as we would have been only covered in clothing if the house should collapse.

    In addition to these things, people who live in tornado alley (or anywhere where collapse is a possibility, like earthquake areas) should put a permanent marker in their kit. It’s useful for writing your identification on your stomach or other prevalent area in case you are located but are unable to identify yourself (ie, unconcsious, etc). When we worked in the search and rescue, there were many people found naked because the force of the storm literally stripped their clothes right off of them… identification was very difficult for those people!

    Just my thoughts! Also, HUGE thing… buy a rape whistle and put one in every single kit! There were so many people who could have been saved if they had been found sooner.

  13. 14
    Misty @ Survival kit ideas says

    Love the idea to have an extra pair of shoes in the car. I’ve never even considered that before, but I sure would regret not having them if I had to walk a few miles in heels. I’m adding those to my car kit today! Question: Do you have a separate kit you could easily carry if forced to evacuate w/o a car?

    • 14.1
      Kelly says

      I put my stuff in my car in a backpack so I can even throw my purse in…. It is also a lot easier to maneuver around a backpack in your trunk than a box.

      • 14.1.1
        jenn says

        I have all of my stuff in an old rolling suitcase in the trunk. That way, even if I have to get out and walk, it’s easy to take along.

  14. 15
    Joanna says

    My husband and I decided to add some comfort foods to our emergency 72 hour kit such as candy and beef jerky, and some toys and card games for our children. We also keep a toiletry bag ready to go for personal hygiene in the kit. We like to keep our items in duffel bags with wheels should we need to evacuate. When planning for our emergency kit we decided to double items with our camping gear where ever possible.

  15. 16
    Susan says

    For folks in severe weather prone areas I can’t emphasize enough the importance of a battery powered weather radio. Also, my sister had to evacuate during Hurricane Katrina and had to use backroads because the interstates were so clogged – she didn’t have maps and cell phone service was very spotty. Having some planned evacuation routes and road maps might be helpful.

  16. 17
    Leslie, the Home Maker says

    Smart.
    Just smart.
    I admit I don’t have a kit. And I admit I was unsure what or how much to have in it.
    Thank you for the help and info.
    I have some space all along the top of my 6′ wide pantry.
    I will start stocking up!
    HUGS and blessings and safety!
    ~Leslie

  17. 18
    Melanie says

    One thing I would add is a list of things you need to grab if you are required to evacuate. We had a wildfire a year ago and had about 5 minutes to get out. It was so hard to think clearly and remember everything I needed to take–I forgot to grab family photos, essential meds, etc. Even though I had a kit, and it was right in front of me, it was hard to make sure I had everything I needed that wasn’t in the kit (purse, ID, etc.). So I’d suggest make a list, keep it with your kit, and use it to make sure you have everything if you need to leave in a hurry.

  18. 19
    Penguina says

    Great ideas. Absolutely need the shoes- we were hit by a tornado and were all bare foot. Also I suggest undergarments with a change of clothes. It is awful to feel that dirty and not be able to change or go to a store. The CDs with pictures and vital info is criticial but think about adding video of your house’s contents- room by room. You will need it for insurance and its a huge pain to remember everything you had. We keep a weather radio, small TV and a land line in the storm room. Keeping the items in backpacks is a good idea in case of evacuation or if the house is too unstable to stay in. Have a printed list of family and friends phone numbers in case your cell is damaged or dead. We lost all chargers so cells were useless. Consider backing up your computers and keeping an external hard drive in the shelter. Keep the food simple. You need it for energy but the last thing on your mind will be preparing a meal- nothing that needs to be warmed up. Hope this helps. Lessons learned from experience. We survived because of God’s grace, a storm room built into the house and a $30 weather radio.

    • 19.1
      Amanda Y. says

      Along with the CD of pictures, I recommend having them emailed to yourself or uploaded to a snapfish style site so you can access them eventually for insurance, even if the CD is scratched or damaged.

      • 19.1.1
        Beth Ann says

        I put all my important information on a flash drive. It is smaller and easier to carry.

        • 19.1.1.1
          Stephanie says

          Smart! That can be attached to a lanyard, etc. and kept close and safe.

  19. 20
    Jen says

    Don’t forget to pack the can opener!!!

  20. 21
    Amy Grace says

    I would recommend adding some FILTER MASKS to the kit. After a disaster, lots of folks will be “digging out” and a mask can really spare your lungs and allow you to search longer for survivors.

  21. 22
    Tamara says

    So I have heard that for an earthquake kit, you should really pack it in a plastic bin or trash can outside of your house. I guess the thought is you might have structural damage. Do you feel comfortable having yours in your garage?

    Thanks Amanda!

  22. 23
    Cheryl says

    We have a portable camp stove to cook on powered with propane that we have handy and would be easy to put in our car if necessary. I would recommend getting one, Coleman stoves are fairly inexpensive!

  23. 24
    Jamie says

    I have also heard you should stock tampons, maxi pads and diapers to use to on anyone who is losing large amounts of blood. They are sanitary and if you have those and duct tape- you are set if someone gets a large wound.

    • 24.1
      Amy says

      I took a Wilderness First Aid course and the instructor said we should pack maxi pads, etc but only the cheap ones (think dollarstore ha) because name brands like Always are designed to absorb and hold more blood which is what I thought we needed but he said no, name brands do not help to STOP the bleeding.

      I’ve never had to use either in that kind of situation, thank goodness, just thought I would throw that out there! :)

      • 24.1.1
        Jules says

        ONLY use organic cotton sanitary pads, etc. as many companies add products/chemicals to the pad that increases bleeding.

  24. 25
    Andrea says

    We live in the northeast, so storing our emergency supplies in the garage is not an option. Between the freezing temperatures and high humidity in the summer, most things would be ruined.

    In the past three years, we have had four events that resulted in a loss of electricity for 24 hours or more (an ice storm, a wind storm, Hurricane Irene and an early snowstorm). The most recent storm left us without power for five days.

    Seeds and unsalted nuts are good additions to emergency kits, as they are a source of protein and fat that doesn’t require heating.

  25. 26
    Stephanie says

    This is such valuable information. Thanks for the great advice!

  26. 27
    Trisa says

    Many people only have electric can openers. I would highly suggest everyone have a manual can opener. One for the house & one in emergency kit if it contains canned food. Also a stock of paper plates, cups and spoons as water may not be available to wash dishes

  27. 28
    Lorraine says

    I would also recommend a Snap-On Emergency Crank LED flashlight, which doesn’t use batteries. It has a siren, a 12 volt charger for cellphones (you need a car charger), AM/FM/Weather/NOAA radio bands, and it’s big enough to use as a club should you need it for that (hope not!). It needs to be cranked once a month, but I’m getting into the habit of doing that while I watch a video. I bought mine several years ago after a tornado destroyed a small town near me. (I live near Joplin MO. Lots of tornados and ice storms.)

    Well worth the money: http://www.amazon.com/Snap-92179-Emergency-Flashlight-Weather/dp/B000UVSH5Y

  28. 29
    Carrie says

    After trying to store and rotate canned goods and the like in my family of 6′s 72 hour kit I finally gave up on them. They’re heavy, take up a lot of space, and have to be rotated every few months. Instead, I’ve stocked my 72 hour kits with MREs. They’re small, last up to 5 years and can be eaten without heating or any additional prep work (although warmed up would be better). They also can be eaten straight from the pouch, so no dishes necessary, just utensils. I keep plastic ones in the kit. Yes, they’re a little expensive, but I kept forgetting to rotate my canned foods often enough and was throwing those away, so I’m pretty sure it all balances out in the end. Just another alternative I wanted to offer up!

  29. 30
    Natalee says

    You can buy a very cool product called STOVE IN A CAN. All should have a couple on hand for 72 hr. kits! Google them. here is the link http://stoveinacan.com/

  30. 31
    jen says

    I had a friend who mentioned a great tip of keeping updated family pictures in her survival kits in case you get separated or someone is lost. You can ask people if they have seen your family and they will have a visual to reference.

  31. 32
    jen says

    I had a friend who mentioned a great tip of keeping updated family pictures in her survival kits in case you get separated or someone is lost. You can ask people if they have seen your family and they will have a visual to reference.

  32. 33
    Jennifer @ Mom Spotted says

    For the car I think you should add the little device that smashes glass and a pocket knife. If you were trapped and couldn’t get your seat belt off at least you could cut it and if your car ever went under water you can get through the glass.

    • 33.1
      junassicpark says

      Great suggestion! You’ll want to keep those items in your glove box or another place inside the car, not in your trunk.

      • 33.1.1
        Missa says

        I keep a small crowbar in the door well of my driver’s side door. (It’s wrapped loosely in thin foam so it doesn’t rattle when I drive around.) Much more accessible than the glove box (all that leaning!) Not only useful for all kind of things should something happen with the car, but could also be used to beat the snot out of an attacker. (I actually bought it for that purpose – that’s why its so small – less than 2 feet long – so I can swing it at people.)

    • 33.2
      deenamac says

      I actually found these on Amazon. They’re called resQme keychains and provide both the seat belt cutter and the hammer pin to break the glass! When I got them, my son and I tried them all and had great fun breaking old pic. frames, mean boxes, and his old belts. THEY WORK GREAT !!! They were only like $7.97 or something so guess what? That’s what everyone got for Christmas. and they also come in pink :)
      They’re meant to stay attached to key ring, but it you need them it just pops / snaps right off, but I actually keep mine attached to my seat belt with a carabiner. If I’m panicking about the seat belt, I may forget about the tool on the keychain, (or in the glovebox, or in the backseat organizer, or on the kitchen counter because I never got around to actually putting it in the car!!!) so it conveniently lays right where the first potential problem would be ! Easy, practical, AND cute. Everyone asks about it and I happily tell them. Besides, for that price, why DON’T you have one?
      http://www.amazon.com/2-Pack-Pink-Res-Q-Me-Keychains/dp/B002UYZ2MA/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1331531599&sr=8-4

      • 33.2.1
        Michelle says

        Thank you! This is such a handy item to have and since both my sons now drive, I’m always worried about them. Any little thing like this (that can save a life!!) will help to ease my mind.

  33. 34
    Survival Spot says

    This is certainly a good start. If you live in the city I would highly recommend some additional gas in your garage in case you need to leave on short notice.

  34. 35
    CathyWebSavvyPR says

    I live on the east coast (mid-Atlantic region) and created a “go bag” and home prepareedness stash after my brother went 7 says without power after hurricane Rita.

    A couple of things I’d suggest adding:
    If you live in colder climate, or think cold rain will be an issue – add hand, body and toe warmers to your kit – there are several brands, often inexpensive – toasty toes, hot hands, toe grabbers. My feet get cold easily – you expose the to air put them in your shoes/boots or jacket pocket and they work for hours. Hunters use them, so a hunting store like Cabellas or on amazon. along with a mylar survival blankets. I also have a cheap sleeping bag which can use in an emergency.

    Also – there are emergency food bars that, again are available online, and pouches of water that have a five year shelf life, and the packaging can handle the heat of being in your car etc. I keep a car kit with the keep you warm items above, plus food and water with long shelf life. Mainstay is one of the brands that makes them I think.

    if you have kids, also think about what you mike keep in the bag to amuse them if you have to go to a shelter. Their old hand-held electronic game & charger, deck of cards, Uno; for younger kids a stuffed animal.

    Often in some disasters, you have to move fast, so I keep a daypack near the door of my house (near where my keys and purse are) that holds a change of clothes, the same stuff (emerg. food, water, warmth) as is in my car, and my key chain has an emergency whistle on it to help someone find me. I was reading something about refugees, they said the average refugee has 5 minutes to get out of the house or less – what would you take, under that pressure. I watched the Tv last night and there was an apartment fire – he got his family, wallet & keys which were by the door, but the smoke was so bad, he couldn’t get her purse, but they got out alive. My mom was voluntarily evacuated last year after a rare inland hurricane hit near her vacation home, due to threat of flooding from a dam breaking. Our house is on low ground – they evacuated to a neighbor’s house up the hill 15 minutes after hearing the news. So don’t think it can’t happen to you.

    Sorry for the long comment…

  35. 36
    Allie R. says

    I’ve stayed up an extra 3 hours tonight to make my very detailed list of everything I am going to need to make all of these.

    I am SO incredibly thankful for this post and all of the comments leaving advice. I think a great idea would to be making these kits for your family.

    I plan on making my boyfriend and I a car kit, basic home kit and 2 backpack kits that I’ve been calling our “Grab & Go!” kits. I also plan on making my mom, sister and 10 year old nephew each a backpack kit. They live 2 hours away from me, so it will definitely make me sleep better at night knowing if they need to get out in a hurry, they will be able to survive.

    I also wanted to add my little tid-bit of what you should add to your “Grab & Go!” bags- sunscreen and bug repellent. You never know if you will have shaded shelter and you don’t want to get eaten up by mosquito or anything of that nature.

    Again, thank you so much for everyone’s input and advice.

  36. 37
    Allie R. says

    ALSO! I suggest, not only regular matches, but waterproof matches. They’re amazing and work wonders. You never know when it will start raining and you need to heat something up. They sell packs of these matches at Target stores in the camping section. It’s only a few dollars for 2 little boxes. Oh, and they’re a lot sturdier than a little book of matches- they’re made out of wood chips.

    • 37.1
      Rosie B. says

      When I was a kid in Girl Scouts we learned to make our own waterproof matches by painting a thin coat of clear nailpolish on the match tips. Also another tip for those making car survival kits…pop in a couple jar candles w/matches…if you r trapped in your car during a blizzard even that small amount of heat can keep your fingers and toes from frostbite…also it gives hours & hours of light so you can save your flashlight batteries and won’t burn up as much of the oxygen as the toilet paper/coffee can version will.
      Stay safe!

  37. 38
    Donna says

    A baby food jar filled with wooden matches + sandpaper glued to the inside of the lid = dry matches and a place to strike them :)

  38. 39
    Kristie says

    Mine is in a tote ready to grab and run

  39. 40
    Kelly says

    I was also highly recommend gum boots / Wellingtons or what ever they are called where you live. After living through major flooding in Australia then earthquakes and liquefaction in New Zealand I think every kit should have a pair for every member of the family.

  40. 41
    RMC says

    Re: Pasta

    Even not considering the fact that (as discussed already) pasta will require some cooking method, if you are really thinking of a ‘survival’ situation that you’re preparing water for, consider that pasta takes a fair amount of water to cook, even if you’re being very stingy with the amount. Probably better, especially in an urban situation where ‘purifiable’ water is limited, to prepare w/ foods that do not require water, or cooking at all, potentially.

    • 41.1
      Carisa says

      Why does the pasta even have to be cooked? Every time I make spaghetti, the kids come running over for a couple sticks of uncooked pasta to munch on. They love it! I do the same with macaroni when I’m making tuna casserole. Sure, it’s not as tasty as a nice bowl of cooked pasta, but you will survive. Besides, in survival mode, would you want to waste time and precious water cooking something like that? I think it’s in the pack because it’s light and edible. Think outside the box.

      • 41.1.1
        Stephie says

        Yes but remember not all emergencies are the same. What if water isn’t an issue at all? Then pasta would/could be acceptable.

    • 41.2
      m says

      We store some low-sodium chicken broth to cook pasta and quick rice in so that it does not take away from our water supply.

      • 41.2.1
        angie says

        good thinking!!!

  41. 42
    Steph says

    if there is some sort of disaster, and you have the time, it’s a great idea to fill all your sinks and bathtubs with water. that way you have a supply at the onset of a disaster to use without having to filter it, etc.

    we have a small grill and some charcoal, as well as a few pots and pans we no longer use in our daily lives stored in our basement for cooking purposes (outdoor use only, of course). if there is a power outage, we would have a lot of meat and food in the freezer that would need to be cooked relatively fast so it would not go bad. remember, if its a snowstorm and you’re out of power, you can also put things that need to stay cold or frozen just outside a door, and the elements will keep it cold.

    if you have children, keep their extra shoes and clothes updated as well as they grow and for the appropriate season. easy to forget to do that and none of the clothes/shoes fit. perhaps even a size or two big for them, just in case.

    we live in a very cold climate, so it’s also important to have hats, mittens, boots, waterproof clothing, etc. frostbite can be very quick and dangerous in a snowstorm.

    instead of selling our wagon, we decided to keep it in the basement. it’s able to carry children, belongings, whatever.

    sorry for the length, but just a few thoughts!

    • 42.1
      Gillian says

      What do you mean by a wagon? I’m thinking horses and Native Americans here…..um…I’m from Australia….sorry to sound ignorant.

      • 42.1.1
        Menda says

        I would imagine she means her children’s toy wagon, like a Radio Flyer or other little red wagon. We have a canvas one that folds; my kiddos love it.

  42. 43
    Michele says

    The only problem I have is, we live in Southern Cali and never is our garage cool enough to store food and we surely don’t have a basement. Maybe I can just use a spare room in the house instead.

    • 43.1
      Phyllis says

      When we were space challenged, we had to get creative. We had a couple of metal drums and some stacked boxes of supplies, covered them with floor-length tablecloths or sheets, and used them as end tables in the bedrooms and living room. Not really chic, but it worked. Good luck! You will be amazed at the feeling of relief that being prepared will give you!

      • 43.1.1
        Paulyne says

        In a pinch you could remove a drawer turn it over and use as a table or prep station. Stuff pillowcases with clothing, towels, blankets, etc. Hard candy is suggested for energy and boullion cubes are easier than canned broth. This website has been very useful and I’ve made plenty of notes adding to my ‘kit.’
        Many thanks to all who have contributed…am forwarding to family.

    • 43.2
      Meghann says

      Look for unused space, like under the bed, under the couch, the space above your kitchen cabinets.

      • 43.2.1
        Gillian says

        remove the kickplate at the bottom of your kitchen cabinets and use to store things – not the easiest to access but most times you know something is happening.

    • 43.3
      Jane says

      We have 3 bathrooms, one where the shower is never used. We have turned that into our water closet where we store extra cases of bottled water and extra bottles of empty soda bottles with water that we could use for cooking, flushing the toilet and washing. One of our walk – in closets is a designated food closet and I make large Avery labels on the computer to make food rotation easier. Powdered milk I have in glass jars so that each jar would easily make 2 quarts of milk. We also have several cooking sources available. The outside propane grill, a charcoal grill with charcoal sealed in ziplock packs inside of a large plastic tub, a sterno fueled cooking surface and another small stove set up, the cooking I think we have covered at this time.

  43. 44
    Karen@MSEnthusiast says

    I am glad I stumbled upon this article. I’ve been meaning to find an official checklist for what to have on hand in case of emergency. Thanks for posting this. We had a hurricane in the last fall. We were without electricity for a few days and it’s amazing how these items come in handy. This helps save money too. Your finances can take a beating in these situations especially if you are not prepared.

  44. 45
    Bonnie says

    I would also add bike/motorcycle/snowmobile helmets for everyone. Especially for those in tornado prone areas.

  45. 46
    Den says

    I include a camp stove with my safety kit along with fuel. It also serves as an alternative heat source in an emergency. I also have emergency candles. In my car kit, I have a candle and matches come winter. The heat from one candle can keep hypothermia from setting in when in an enclosed car. Just make sure you have candle in a baggy. That way if you forget to remove it, the wax hasn’t melted into the rest of your gear. If in a snowy region, you will want a folding shovel, kitty litter and maybe a snow shoes.

  46. 47
    Simone says

    I live in Southern Louisiana, so I have something to add: an axe in the attic (or near a roof access). If where you live is prone to flooding, make sure you have an axe in the attic. This can save your life if you are trapped in your house during a major flood by allowing you to get out onto the roof and then being able to kill snakes that will also be climbing onto your roof.

    I keep an emergency kit in my car whenever I travel far away from where I live. This came in handy once when my husband was standing on an iced over stream and then he fell in. He was able to clean off with some water and paper towels and put some bandages on. I am adding shoes to my kit now because of your suggestion. Poor thing had to ride barefoot back to where we were staying because his shoes were soaked. We also have a flash light in our car for when it’s dark; we used this one day on the beach when we were trying to clean up after sunset.

  47. 48
    Denise says

    Lots of good ideas here. However, I would never use canned goods because of BPAs. Also would use wild salmon in pouches because of the mercury in tuna and the problems with farmed salmon. Did you include a battery operated fan? I gets so hot is the south in the summer.

    Lots of good ideas here. H

    • 48.1
      Lisa says

      Denise, I avoid BPA, too, but I think that in an emergency situation I would make an exception. There are also brands that do not contain BPA, such as Native Naturals, Eden Organic, and some canned wild salmon brands. I am stocked up on all of these.

  48. 49
    Kelly C says

    Excellent suggestions. Thank you so much for writing this. To the person above commenting that they would never use canned goods because they contain BPA’s…seriously? In an emergency, and you are starving, I doubt you would care about that. Well, maybe YOU would…but the majority of people would just want food in their bellies, period.

    • 49.1
      Denise says

      Kelly,
      I am the person above. Thank you for your snotty little comment. If you had packed an emergency box, you wouldn’t be starving. I am also WELL aware of Eden foods as I use their canned good right now….They are not only BPA free they are also organic. I was only trying to help others, but apparently you chose not to see it that way.

      • 49.1.1
        Christine says

        Wow Denise… Have fun with your “BPA free” foods, and your picky diet in a survival situation. Just be thankful they make food that caters picky eaters. And remember in a real survival situation you don’t have the luxury of being picky.

        • 49.1.1.1
          Jules says

          Some of us think survival is not just getting out of one fix and into another…

          For some of us really lucky “picky” eaters, “picky” IS survival, as there are many foods that would kill me (anaphylactic shock) or make me wish I were dead (like gluten as it destroys my intestinal linings).

          Thinking ahead and taking care of all contingencies deserves respect, not nastiness. Nutritional needs should ALWAYS be taken into consideration. HOWEVER, once you are in a situation, it is a choice for short-term or long-term survival and the inherent risks.

  49. 50
    Donna Stenberg says

    Would it be alright with you if I copied this page onto cd’s to pass out at a class our state’s faith-based organizations are presenting on Disaster Preparedness?

    Here is a link to our flyer advertising our upcoming event July 14th.
    http://www.nwareacc.org/fileadmin/Documents/Flyer_revised.pdf

    You have done a fabulous job of laying out a great plan and we’d gladly give you the credit you deserve.

    If you have any questions, please email me.

    Thank you so much.

  50. 51
    Jacqui Bee says

    A great list and so important. I was lucky that I had started preparing my kit before we had our 1st big earthquake September 2010 here in Christchurch New Zealand. Something I had that was really useful was a bottle of chlorine bleach ( unsented, no soap) which I used to purifiy water for washing, can be used for drinking if necessary ( you can search for the recipe) and something you need to think of is a toilet…. no water = no toilet, some people in our city are still using portapottys a year and a half later because of broken sewers. At least have a bucket lined with a plastic bag. You can buy a bucket with a seat for extra comfort. keep safe

  51. 52
    Jennifer says

    Three years ago, WV was hit by a huge snowstorm the week before Christmas. We were out of power and we lived in a house that was powered completely by electricity including our cook stove. We cleaned our back porch off and pulled out the gas grill. We cooked corn dogs and mac and cheese on the grill. Our grill didn’t have a side burner at the time, we just put a pot with the water on the grill and waited until it boiled. It took a lot longer that the direct heat of a cook stove, but eventially we had our meal.

  52. 53
    Daisy says

    I am from New Zealand and a few tips i got from friends and family who were in the Chirstchurch earthquake are to always keep your car full of fuel/ gas as the gas stations run on power and there were so many people trying to get out of the city when the big one hit.. to always have cash on you as again the atm/cash machines run on power. Also they said to have your supplies in containers in a couple of different places , a lot of their homes were structurally damaged( or had collapsed) and they couldn’t get back in the houses or could just quickly whip in but couldn’t spend any length of time for fear of collapse.. store more water if you can or have the extra water containers available…. something to use as a portable toilet , bucket, plastic bag, spade to dig a hole in the garden… not pleasant i know but it’s what they had to do…

  53. 54
    Dennise Perri says

    I think a good rule of thumb is that you check/change out your emergency kit twice a year at daylight savings time. (just like you do with checking your smoke detectors)

    Just an easy way to remember.

    Also, a good idea for an emergency kit for in the car is to store it in an old backpack so that if you do have to leave your car, you have something easy to take with you. As a woman, trying to walk with a big purse constantly falling off my shoulder is NOT fun. So storeing the things in a backpack is multi-functional.

  54. 55
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  55. 56
    Shreela says

    Huge plastic trash bags +kitty litter=toilet when city sewage is down due to power loss. Get the water out of your toilet bowl somehow, then place TWO trash bags into the toilet bowl. Potty into the trash bag, then scoop kitty litter over your waste to cover completely. Somewhere around 1/2-3/4 full, pull out the inner bag, making sure it’s closed really good. Replace inner bag if needed, until city sewage works again.

    Big mylar blanket for your pet – if it’s hot, place a thin, light-colored sheet over your pet’s carrier, then the mylar to help keep your pet from overheating if it’s hot, and your poor pet has to be put in the back of the truck due to humans taking up all the inside space. Reversing the setup, and maybe a thick blanket too, if it’s cold. A handful of bungees, or even clothes pin help secure the blankets (as well as other stuff in backs of trucks).

    Cheap, flea market fans are SO nice if battery-fans break, or you run out of batteries. Middle aged women will love you!

  56. 57
    Nikki says

    Wow! What a great site, I’m glad I stumbled upon you on Pinterest. I will be adding an emergency kit to my car for sure.

  57. 58
    debra says

    Where did you find your storage cabinet? I’d like something along those lines myself.

    Not reading through all the comments, water purification tablets can be found, if no where else, on Amazon, for a very reasonable price. A magnesium/flint fire starter (and learning how to use one) is a must. Also, very reasonable. Hit up the $ store every so often and stock up on first aid kit types of stuff – moist wipes, 10 pack of maxi pads (nothing better for a bad wound until help can arrive), ‘hot hands’ for when it is cold, bandages, so on and so forth. Take a few bucks every few weeks and see what they have. You’ll build a first aid kit (and other kits) more to your needs and standards than a ‘pre-packaged’ one. Just saw mylar blankets mentioned…on Amazon, cheaper than cheap.

    I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert, but I am learning. A few $ here and there will put you way ahead of the game.

    But…still interested in your cabinet….

    • 58.1
      debra says

      eta… a small tin or pill bottle with vaseline (or generic) coated cotton balls will jump start the fire starter like no ones business. Don’t need it, but could make a very big difference in how long it takes you to start your fire :)

  58. 59
    Kelsey says

    We have oil lamps and candles. We never throw out any blankets or pillows if we can help it. During tornado season, we have to hunker down and the bag of pillows comes in handy to cover heads with when you don’t have helmets or have guests over when it happens and you don’t have enough helmets.

    Plus in winter we always have some sort of power loss, so having all the lamps and candles help and we can pull out the extra blankets and pillows. A quick tip: if your stuck in your house during a snow/ice storm, close all the doors to other rooms and pick one room in the center of your house as the “living” quarters. Keeping everyone in that room and doors closed conserves heat and the middle of your house is safest if a tree happens to fall.

    • 59.1
      Stephanie says

      In addition to that, close all curtains or hang blankets over big windows (if you have them to spare), in order to keep as much heat in as possible.

  59. 60
    Sarah HI says

    Growing up in Michigan, I always had boots, a hat, a scarf, gloves, and a flashlight in my car just in case! You really do have to tailor it to your specific needs. This is something I really need to get on top of now that I’m a parent and responsible for more than just myself.

  60. 61
    Dail says

    I don’t know if anyone mentioned it. But I added care products. Because you know that time will always start furring the worst time. I keep a small gas grill and propane tanks stored to cook on if I need to.

    • 61.1
      Dail says

      I was thinking faster than I can type. I added FEMININE care products. And don’t for get a 2 ft x 2 ft piece of sturdy ply wood for the car. If you get stuck in snow/sand/mud etc you can put it infront of your main drive tire (the one that’s just spinning) and your tire will be able to get traction and get you unstuck.

      • 61.1.1
        Meghann says

        I was told to use my car floor mat for that same thing.

  61. 62
    Megan says

    To the car one I would also add jumper cables (you would be surprised how many people don’t have them), a basic first aid kit for your car, and if you live somewhere with snow/ice, a container of kitty litter (very helpful if you get stuck)

  62. 63
    Annette says

    I need to get an emergency kit together – thanks for all of the great ideas! One thing that I haven’t seen mentioned is uploading all of your pictures and copies of important documents onto cloud storage, like Google. If you don’t have a chance to grab anything (for example, you aren’t home) you won’t lose all of your precious memories and documentation.

  63. 64
    Kristin says

    Hi…great ideas!! I’m planning to make an ER kit for my family today. Just one thing I wanted to add to your pet emergency kit. It’s great to keep vaccine records on hand in case you had to evacuate with your pet.

  64. 65
    Kevy says

    I keep my passport in my emergency kit for Id purposes because I don’t need it everyday, I know where it is when I do need it, and I think it’s better to have an actual official document along with a photocopy of my drivers license than just the photocopy of my license.

  65. 66
    Barbara says

    In snowy regions, good to keep a cheap flat plastic sled in back of the car to haul younger kids if car breaks down and you have to walk a distance. Easier than carrying them.

  66. 67
    Joy says

    Hi Amanda,
    This is a little off topic, not really, but I want to share anyway. We have a wonderful dog who has terrible allergies to many dog foods and we were giving her allergy pills all of the time too for her itching problem. When she came to live with us, she was being fed the same food that is in your photo. Our Vet said she is most likely allergic to what we were feeding her. He recommended reading all the labels and buying only foods that have meat as the first ingredient. Most (even some that are billed as “the best for your furry friend”) have corn or wheat as their first ingredient. She was allergic to all those brands. When we switched to her current brand (which we still check ingredients to make sure they haven’t changed) her itching problem went away. Same for her treats. However, don’t throw out the allergy pills, they should still be in your bug-out bag.

    • 67.1
      Lisa says

      I had the same though, Joy! Grain free diets eliminate allergies in pets. My cat had the same issue. We feed her Wellness now, and she is as fit as a fiddle.

    • 67.2
      Christy says

      You are both on the right track. I used to be a vet tech before my kids were born, and I saw a LOT of animals with food allergies. And yes, many times it is the grains. However, they can also be allergic to chicken, beef, etc…and there are plenty of animals who have allergies that have nothing to do with food. Just FYI, for anyone who tried grain-free food and it didn’t work. Also, a lot of people forget about treats…if you change to grain free food, be sure you aren’t giving treats that have those grains in them. Seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t think about it. :-)

  67. 68
    Sarah says

    uh why the confusion over the pasta? Build a fire, boil water, is it that complicated?

    • 68.1
      Stephie says

      No it’s not, but even I would be hard pressed to make that quick. And I’m lucky! I have a scrap wood pile, a grill and live on the edge of town near a forest… You need stuff to make a fire… Then you need a pot that can withstand that kind of heat. I do see your point but not all ‘city folk’ have easy access to fire.

    • 68.2
      Lisa says

      We live on a small city plot and I do not think that we would have access to enough firewood, given that all of our neighbors would be doing the same. Also, people who live in highrises or very urban areas certainly would not have access to fire and wood. Depends on where you live.

      • 68.2.1
        Tommie says

        Although this tip might not boil water, it will make a small fire for heating food. I have a portable fire pit. I use all my junk mail & other paper to make small logs. Just roll as tight as you can & secure with a small piece of wire. Three or four of these, about one & a half inches thick will burn for around an hour.

  68. 69
    Samantha says

    Thanks for the great tips.
    A few years ago, we had two different week long periods without power ( ice storm … Wind storm…) so to stay entertained, we charged the portable DVD player in the car, then played at night for our son. Best thing I can add… We keep a plastic preschool rest mat in our unfinished basement area incase we are on the ground for a tornado for a while. If worst came to worst, we could wrap it around ourselves and the children to provide additional barrier between us and elements. Thanks again for your tips. I’m updating right now!!!!

  69. 70
    Ashley says

    It surprises me that one thing that hasn’t come up about pasta (or anything else that needs to be cooked to eat) is that gas stoves still work in power outages. Obviously, if you have a water shortage, gas lines are compromized and/or you’re forced out of your home/kitchen etc., it’s not the best option, but we were without power for 24 hours (so lucky it wasn’t so much longer) during the hurricane, and I was able to cook as usual with a lantern for light and a lighter to ignite the stove.

  70. 71
    Anne Hernandez says

    Great ideas! We always get a kit ready/replenished before hurricane season. Since we live in Florida, that’s our biggest natural disaster concern. We use a large plastic tote for the at home kit since it has a lid and would be waterproof in case of flooding. We also make sure to get extra gasoline for the car and fill up the gas grill. We’d like to invest in a generator someday, too. I saw the coolest thing for fire starters on Pinterest – http://jjmatheshikes.blogspot.com/2011/11/i-like-fire-and-im-always-interested-in.html

  71. 72
    Lolly says

    Living on Texas Gulf Coast all my life I have known about emergency kits since I was a small child. In past few years we have used our kit for hurricane Rita, hurricane Ike, and when we were evacuated for wild fires. Don’t forget things like band aids, Ace bandages, alcohol, antibiotic ointment, and hydrogen peroxide for those cuts and scrapes. Always put in extra batteries – can’t have too many. We used those big kitty litter buckets to store water for toilet and bathing, they stack up great and we just stored them in the shower.

  72. 73
    Aggie says

    Thank you so much because this is fantastic. We are just recovering from Hurricane Sandy here and I am going to put one of these together ASAP!

  73. 74
    RaLoh says

    This is a great list. I’m from western New York. I know many people who are badly affected by the recent hurricane, Sandy. I’m certain many had to scramble to prepare and many are suffering now because they didn’t. I want to make sure I am prepared for whatever Mother Nature & God throws my way!! Thank you!!

  74. 75
    Kim says

    Those who need a cooking source during an emergency (and who doesn’t?): Check out the Deadwood Stoves… made in the USA by a family, they’re basically little rocket stoves that create a tremendous amount of heat out of twigs and other yard debris. We bought one to serve as our emergency stove, and we’re having a blast learning to use it. Great for camping and backyard s’mores too!
    http://www.deadwoodstove.com/

  75. 76
    Sally says

    Suggestions I would add to the list — work gloves [to protect your hands if you need to move debris].

    Also a pencil/pen and pad of paper — to leave notes for others; play hangman or tick-tack-toe; or for keeping track of whatever needs keeping track of in an emergency.

    A deck of cards for entertainment; and possibly a paperback or two. And the pages could be used to start a fire if necessary.

  76. 77
    Christy says

    I’m so glad to have found my way to you from Pinterest! Excellent list and so many great ideas from other commenters to bulk up my own kit. I read an article many years ago (wish I remembered the source to give credit) that gave me an idea to give starter earthquake kits to my family for Christmas a few years back–especially useful since many of our houses are situated directly on a fault in the SF Bay Area. I started collecting items on Black Friday and kept an eye on sales throughout the holiday to round out the kits in time for Christmas. I began with large 18 gallon plastic tote boxes (Walmart) and stocked each with an emergency crank radio (Radio Shack Black Friday), crank flashlight (Kohl’s Black Friday), heavy gloves, tarp, duct tape, dust masks, utility knife (all from big box home improvement store), canned foods(Costco), whistle, manual can opener, water, bath tissue, inexpensive fleece blanket and gloves for each of their family members (from Drug Store Black Friday), matches/lighter, pouch for important docs. I also tucked in a list of things they might consider adding on their own (wish I had YOUR great list back then!) It was especially fun on Christmas morning when my niece and nephew were circling the tall stack of large putty colored plastic containers wondering what in the world they could be.

  77. 78
    Frank says

    I see these kits and wonder what you do in a tornado? Your kit might be scattered over several miles. I’m trying to figure out the best option since we don’t have a storm shelter or safe room.

  78. 79
    TIki says

    Get a generator and you won’t have to do this. We always fill the tub with water, and the generator works the whole house. People have lived through these types of things in the past. Don’t fret. You should have enough food on hand, always.

    • 79.1
      Stephanie says

      This is usually true, but you never know when you may have to evacuate your home. It is always good to have things in order in case you need to leave in a hurry (i.e., fire, flood, etc.)

  79. 80
    Manasi says

    This is fantastic, I am fwd.ing this link to my friends.
    I also read somewhere that a tub of shortening can be very useful in case of power cuts, stick a candle wick into the tub and turn the tub into a candle that burns for several days!

  80. 81
    Wendy says

    Even if you have a full kit in your home, another thing to think about is a small kit (like the car one) in each bedroom, under the bed, and reachable while in bed. We spend about 30% of our time in bed, and jumping out of bed and cutting your feet on broken glass (windows, mirrors, picture frames, etc.) can instantly turn you from a helper to a helpee. A pair of socks and running shoes (appropriate for the person sleeping there) can make all the difference.

  81. 82
    Samantha says

    One question I have is how often do you really need to replace items if I store items out in my garage don’t I have to worry about items going out of date. I live in KS we have tornadoes but really nothing bad…

  82. 83
    Sandra says

    I noticed in your pet emergency kit you feed your dog Beneful and you said that she has a lot of allergies. Take a look at the dog food guide put out by The Whole Dog Journal. Beneful is one of the worst rated foods and might be a considerable source of allergens for her. Thanks for all the other great info. Hope this comment is of some help to your sweet pooch. :)

  83. 84
    Me says

    No offense but this is the most ridiculous assortment of emergency gear I have seen. Seriously your going to carry your dogs bin and yours walking what could be miles, while holding a dog leash? How are is she going to start a fire, there’s no matches in any of those pictures? What about wood? Hopefully none of the victims of Sandy followed this cruddy advice, over a month later and many are still suffering. Come on a cupboard wih some tuna, a flashlight, toilet parts and a handful of water bottles ? You should be ashamed to put out such a poorly written piece that could put someone’s life in peril if they followed your advice.

  84. 85
    Julie says

    The only thing that I see missing from alot of emergency kits are a pair of good work gloves.

  85. 86
    amanda says

    For the issue of heating food…campfires work wonders…just saying. you can typically find things to burn but when your batteries go out or the kerosene cans are , then what are you going to do? Lol

  86. 88
    Stacey says

    Just loved your blog! I especially liked how organized your emergency pantry was! I’m thinking about doing something like that in our storm shelter. I also keep the cushion off our porch swing in it for a mattress if need be. I always keep it stored unless I’m using it on the swing because I don’t like to sit on a dirty cushion. For All you who are procrastinating about getting your disaster kit ready, go to http://www.greatemergencykits.com/SurvivalKits and find one that suits your needs. Please don’t find yourself in a situation wishing you had one!

    http://www.healthyfoodremedies.com

  87. 89
    GRAMMYG says

    ANOTHER IDEA FOR WATER , AND I DO THIS IS WHEN YOU EMPTY A BLEACH CONTAINER, FILL IT WIHT TAP WATER, THE SMALL AMOUNT OF CHLORINE LEFT IN THE BOTTLE PURIFIES THE WATER, TO KEEP FOR LENGTHY PERIODS OF TIME, IT ISN’T APPETIZING TO DRINK BUT YOU CAAN WASH YOUR HANDS,DISHES, ETC.
    THE MAIN THINGFOR THOSE IN SNOW COUNTRY IS REMEMBER SNOW MELTS DOWN SO HAVING A BUCKET OR TWO TO FILL WITH ‘CLEAN’ SNOW TO MELT DOWN WILL FLUSH TOILETS AND WATER ANIMALS.

  88. 90
    Patricia says

    My question is if you had to evacuate how would you do that if it is all in a cabinet?

  89. 91
    Marie Rodela says

    Another thing that is handy.
    Your outside solar lights can be brought in at night to light the rooms.
    It makes it nice and cozy.
    Don’t forget to put them back outside in the morning so they can recharge.

  90. 92
    Phone contact says

    Communication is key in a disaster–especially if you are in an earthquake. Consider a rechargeable cell phone case if electricity is off–and don’t forget a crowbar, or other items to help you escape from under potential debris–keep shoes and a helmet with your survival gear as well.

  91. 93
    Christine says

    This is a great post and very thoughtfully written and put together. There are so many comments. I may have missed this one, though. Something that I have never seen mentioned is feminine supplies especially if you have teenage girls in the house. You need pads, tampons, and ways of disposing of those products especially if the toilets are not functioning. And if that’s the case (teenage girls), you’ll need extra toilet paper. I’m not crazy about the dried pasta idea. Water is at a premium during an emergency and I wouldn’t want to use extra water just to boil pasta. Also, something else for the pet would be doggie waste bags. A roll of plastic bags would just plain ole come in handy, anyway.

    • 93.1
      Anne says

      Ladies, when you pack feminine supplies, remember to pack a few pre-moistened wipes, some in individual packets, for those days when you need feminine wipes. In the absence of a shower during those days, you can keep reasonably clean with baby wipes. Wipes in individual packets are not easy to find and baby or adult wipes are fine, but sometimes you need individually wrapped wipes for personal hygiene.

    • 93.2
      ct daffodil says

      When it comes to using sanitary napkins in first aid for wound bleeding, you want the thick generics, think store brand, the thins and ultra thins don’t cut it as well. My hubby had surgery and required several dressing changes daily, the surgeon recommended these rather than the 4x4s and ab pads.

      Never underestimate the power of kitty litter in an emergency toilet (non flushing) helps with smells.

      Protien bars – with 15-25g per bar, look like a granola bar are a good thing to add to your packs. Jolly rancher candies too.

      Children’s chewable vitamins can be eaten by anyone who can chew – then you don’t worry as much. Helps a little.

  92. 94
    http://tinyurl.com/tcljhorne45970 says

    Exactly how long did it require u to publish “How to Put Together an Emergency Preparedness
    Kit : I’m an Organizing Junkie”? It carries a good deal of great material. Thank you -Angelica

  93. 95
    Mineral Springs says

    The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it won’t fail me as much as this one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read through, but I really thought you’d have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something you could possibly fix if you weren’t too busy searching for attention.

  94. 96
    fawn says

    Not smart to have plastic thin water bottles might wanna invest in 3liter plus bottles so the water doesn’t go bad

  95. 97
    Sage says

    Planning ahead is the key to successfully handling an emergency situation. I just recently experienced two snow storms that hit the Midwest. A set of walkie-talkie radios ( not real expensive ones) are great if the electricity is off. They operate on batteries and are very useful in communicating with family members who need to leave the house for any reason shoveling snow, checking on a neighbor). I picked up a set a few years ago for a few bucks at a garage sale. Gathering a wood supply in the summer and covering it with a tarp to protect from the elements is a must. Kerosene is very dependable for lamps/lanterns. Using kerosene eliminates being dependent on batteries which might go dead. Kerosene is also a quick way to get wood started in the fire. Army cots (they take up very little space when not in use) and woolen blankets make for a good night of sleep. Heavy duty magnets (from the hardware store) and bungee cords are good for holding a tarp on your car if you don’t have a garage. Wood ashes work great for melting ice and don’t cost anything. I save mine when I clean the wood burning stove and store in buckets with lids. When an ice storm hits I have an ample supply of ashes.
    Tea, instant coffee and hot chocolate mix are nice to have on hand. A few days before our first storm I shopped at a store that had their Russell Stover Valentine candy on sale at 75% off. I bought several boxes. When the snow storm hit the candy was a pretty awesome treat.

  96. 98
    Anne says

    I love reading everyone’s ideas! I just want to add a couple of my own. First, I made a 3 ring notebook and compiled all the information and ideas I found on the internt that I could use in case of emergency. Everything from info on food storage to how to deal with your frozen/refrigerated foods in a power outage..that type of thing. Once we lose power I will no longer be able to look things up on the computer and I know I won’t remember..so having important information printed for you to refer to will be a big help. Second, I do keep a list attached to my bug out duffle bag, listing everything I do not want to forget such as cell phone, cash, purse, medications, cell phone charger, emergency radio…etc. When you only have a few minutes to prepare, or if you get nervous during an emergency, the list will really come in handy. We also bought a Weber Go Anywhere Grill and a couple bags of charcoal for cooking. The grill is a great size, easy to store, portable to bring outside or put in the vehicle. Solar deck lights for emergency lighting is a great idea! No batteries or flames to worry about! Thanks for all the great info!

  97. 99
    Eric says

    One thing to think about is space. This may be a kit that you need to throw in the car and evacuate.
    Get an emergency radio with weather band, hand crank, flashlight, and cell phone charger built-in
    Lifegear makes a small flashlight that has a LED light, colored flasher that can be seen up to a mile away, and a whistle. It cost 5 bucks at Home Depot. Get one for each member of your family.
    Make sure you have an extensive first-aid kit, and a personal first aid kit for each member of your family. The personal kit can fit in an Altoids tin (you would be surprised at how much will fit in this little tin).
    Here is a great site for more info – http://www.redcross.org/flash/brr/English-html/default.asp

  98. 100
    Lizzy says

    I strongly suggest reading The Last Survivors series by Susan Beth Pfeffer. It’s fiction by a really insightful and realistic look at reaction and survival in a catastrophic disaster. The extremely human response shook me to my core but it’s a must read for emergency preparation.

  99. 101
    Ellen says

    I love all these tips. I will use them However I would not want my personal info/ credit card info/ cash out in my garage. Great ideas thanks

  100. 102
    Julia says

    So I don’t think anyone put this but a thing of crisco and a candle wick they make for long lasting candles

  101. 103
    Sue Annear says

    I am addressing you about an item I see you use for your dog…. Beneful! It is the absolute worst food on the market for a dog and probably why the dog has allergies!! Please do as much homework on dog food as you have on survival kits…. Change to a top quality food- no corn, no meat by products for starters! Your dog will thank you!

  102. 104
    thomp says

    i appreciate that you just have the basics… i’ve been looking through everything online and im feeling a little overwhelmed.

  103. 105
    melody says

    Thats a great idea thanks..

  104. 106
    Janet Barclay says

    There is a lot of great information here (including the comments) but it’s actually got me feeling quite paranoid. If we ever lose power and have to evacuate, we’ll have to walk down 7 flights of stairs with our pets and all our supplies, and then we won’t be able to get our car out of the underground parking as the door is controlled by electricity (hopefully they have some kind of manual override). I’d love to read emergency preparedness tips for people like us.

  105. 107
    Tammi says

    I just wanted to note, and maybe it is in the myriad comments after, but in that one for the car, I might suggest putting in some hand warmers and foot warmers if you live in a cold climate.

  106. 108
    Susan says

    How would you adapt this list for a tropical climate, where the most likely emergency is hurricanes? Isn’t it too hot to store most things in the garage?

  107. 109
    Barbara says

    In days before a hurricane we see store shelves totally empty, and I don’t want to have to depend on any kind of cooking fuel I have to buy, so I bought a Solo stove. http://www.solostove.com/ It uses biofuel; any wood debris, leaves, lint, grass you can find, and there is LOTS of twig debris after a hurricane. I took my stove with me on a family vacation to a state park and fed 5 of us using a few twigs for cooking fuel. I made lint/wax and cotton ball/wax fire starters which work very well. A set of hot dog/marshmallow forks are helpful to have. Cheap at Wal-Mart. I clean my yard of twigs year-round and cut them into short pieces to store in coffee cans. Also long-needle pine needles burn very hot and very fast for kindling. Keep it all dry, and keep a lot of it. To use any time of year at home when there’s no emergency (practice time is fun time), it will burn with one charcoal briquette – great for making S’mores! I can use this on my screen porch and patio table. Important because post-hurricane is bug time so being outside is uncomfortable. If I didn’t have the Solo I’d make a rocket stove which also uses biofuel. Cheap and easy. Buy Ramen, not regular pasta. I dehydrate lots of veggies and pack it with those and herbs/spices for my bug out bag and it all cooks fast. A chef whose site I read says boiling water not necessary for pasta; he tested it in lots of temps, and even warm water will work. Put it in cold water, then turn on heat. It works. I have a 72 hour kit in a backpack if we need to evacuate. Keep a 5 gal. water bottle in the car.

  108. 110
    Laura says

    Everyone with a pet should make sure they not only include a leash in their bag, but I also suggest having an extra collar in there that has a current ID tag attached to it. What if your pet is not wearing its collar for some reason when you have to “bug out”? Or what if the contact info on the tag they are wearing is not current or legible? In a catastrophe, pets can easily be scared and can get lost very quickly. What if you cannot take your pet with you in a forced evacuation and you are FORCED to leave your pet behind? I can’t imagine such a scenario, (nor do I want to!), but crazy things can happen. Vaccination records will also be included in my bag. In the event that the collar is taken of my dog or breaks, or whatever, I plan on writing my name, phone number and address in permanent marker on her belly. Same goes with my kiddos. Their skin will be inked up for sure with all our contact info. Think about it, if a baby, toddler or pet gets lost from their family, they aren’t able to tell anyone who their family is or where they live. Stay safe, everyone.

  109. 111
    Bri says

    What about a kit for those of us in apartments but don’t have the room to store that much food/water?

  110. 112
    Ashley says

    I wouldn’t recommend pasta. If you plan to cool it over a fire you better have a cast iron pot. Also, u would need extra water. I feel it would be a waste of water to cook pasta. Also if u have a stove I would rather save the fuel. This is for Survival. You need to save when you can and what you can.

  111. 113
    Carol says

    Regarding “wasting” water to cook pasta. Good grief, use your brain. Water used to cook pasta does not disappear. Instead of draining the water from the cooked pasta down a drain or on the ground, drink it, or cook something else in it (Minute rice, oatmeal, etc.).

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